SXSW 2009 RECAP
Peelander-Z @ Hot Freaks - Day 2 (Photo by Ryan Suffern)
How can you go to a place where you get a serious sun burn and come home with a cold? It's the non-stop nature of SXSW, the choose your own adventure aspect of it where everyone comes home burnt out with a farmer's tan and a dozen stories.
I was thinking about doing a day-by-day recap but it's now all blurring together like the steady stream of electro-indie bands coming out these days. Instead, here were some of the highlights.
The lovely Shilpa Ray could be our generation's JANIS JOPLIN. Big words? Perhaps, but that raspy growl, that sweet inspiration, her contagious enthusiasm for music gives her a fighting chance. I compared her to ROSEMARY CLOONEY ("Come On-a My House") but let's be clear that Shilpa Ray is NO retro act. It's relevant, it's dark and dirty, and it's completely refreshing. I know, the photo is horrible, it's me after a couple of Jager shots with my Blackberry camera.
Photo by Ryan Suffern
BEST LIVE SET OF MUSIC: THE BROTHERS MOVEMENT@ SOHO LOUNGEI caught them a couple of times in Austin, but Saturday night's show for the Irish Music showcase was special. From song one the boys punched us in the mouths until the final song, a real mother-fucker of a jam, closed out as loud as THE WHO. Here's what the IRISH TIMES had to say about it.
Both days of HOT FREAKS at The Mohawk and Club De Ville were amazing. Think about it, THE DELTA SPIRIT, THE HOLD STEADY, CAMERA OBSCURA, SEBASTIEN GRAINGER, OBITS, THE WRENS, THE ROSEBUDS, PORT O'BRIEN, LEMONADE, SHILPA RAY, GIRLS, HARLEM, JEREMY JAY, and on and on and on, together with Torchie Tacos on the deck and you have some amazing music.
Here's what CHROMEWAVES had to say about it > http://www.chromewaves.net/2009/03/camera-obscura-the-grates-and-peelander-z-and-more-at-sxsw/
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:LOCH LOMOND's heavenly voices at the Brooklyn Vegan party on Wednesday night. FRANCIS & THE LIGHTS turns into PRINCE with a bit of JIM CARREY at the Levi's Fader Fort. THE ETTES drummer is a super star playing the Noise Pop/Take Root Records party, why aren't they a household name yet?? THE TEMPER TRAP displaying "Sweet Disposition" outside near The Continental Club, then stumbling into THE FEROCIOUS FEW playing on the sidewalk around the corner in front of the HOTEL SAN JOSE. EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROS going late late night on Saturday at PureVolume.
Again, everyone's personal SXSW is their own adventure, but I'm always surprised people go all the way to Austin to see Metallica, or Echo & The Bunnymen, Kanye West or Ben Harper. Really? Don't they all come to your town over and over again? Haven't you seen them before? The festival was built on the idea of having a place where fans and industry could go to discover new artists, and it really has gotten away from that. Why do some bands get 3 official SXSW showcases, and others don't get in? Play all the parties you like, but allow for the little guy to get their shot more often. Something needs to give. You saw a lot less 'free' this year, as sponsors and everyone gets hit by the economy, but more parties than ever before. The unofficial party circuit keeps expanding so far east now that you are almost in Lubbock. I love SXSW, but by Saturday night when the bridge-and-tunnel crowd comes in and things become Mardi Gras on 6th Street, it's time to get out.